shallow focus photography of microscope

Uses of Microscope in Forensic science

Microscopic examinations and analysis of evidences provide valuable results in crime scene investigation. Some types of evidence need to be analyzed with different types of microscopes. The following list is made according to the commonly used microscope for particular evidence analysis:

  • Gunshot residue analysis : Scanning Electron Microscope
  • Firearms identification – bullet marking comparison : Comparison Microscope
  • Investigation of Gemstones and Jewelry : Scanning Electron Microscope, Transmission Electron Microscope
  • Examination of paint particles and fibers: Optical Microscope (Compound Microscope), Energy-Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) in the Scanning Electron Microscope, Infrared Microscope
  • Filament bulb investigation : Scanning Electron Microscope
  • Handwriting and print examination/forgery : Scanning Electron Microscope, Stereo Microscope
  • Counterfeit bank notes : Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Microscopes
  • Trace material comparison : Comparison Microscope
  • Examination of non-conducting materials : Scanning Electron Microscope
  • High resolution surface imaging : Scanning Electron Microscope
  • Hair and Fibers: Scanning Electron Microscope
  • Serological and Glass examinations:  Phase Contrast Microscope

Stereo Microscope: Coins, Flowers, Insects, Plastic or metal parts, Printed Circuit Boards, Fabric Weaves, Frog Anatomy, and Wires.

Compound Microscope: Blood cells, Cheek cells, Parasites, Bacteria, Algae, Tissue, and Thin sections of organs, etc.

Polarizing Microscopes use polarized light along with transmitted and, or reflected illumination to examine chemicals, rocks, and minerals.

  • Bartelink, E. J., Wiersema, J. M., & Demaree, R. S. (2001). Quantitative analysis of sharp-force trauma: an application of scanning electron microscopy in forensic anthropology. Journal of Forensic Science46(6), 1288-1293.
  • Jones, B. J., Downham, R., & Sears, V. G. (2010). Effect of substrate surface topography on forensic development of latent fingerprints with iron oxide powder suspension. Surface and Interface Analysis: An International Journal devoted to the development and application of techniques for the analysis of surfaces, interfaces, and thin films42(5), 438-442.
  • Jones, B. (2019). Microscopy in Forensic Sciences. Springer Handbook of Microscopy, pp.2-2.
  • Korda, E. J., MacDonell, H. L., & Williams, J. P. (1970). Forensic applications of the scanning electron microscope. J. Crim. L. Criminology & Police Sci.61, 453.
  • Meng, H. H., & Caddy, B. (1997). Gunshot residue analysis—a review. Journal of Forensic Science42(4), 553-570.
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